Mr. Speaker, the lights are on at Industry Canada but nobody is home. In the past three months the Minister of Industry sang the virtues of high taxes as a way to improve productivity, turned a blind eye to federal loans to convicted criminal Yvon Duhaime and got caught with his pants down when the WTO ruled that Technology Partnerships Canada was an illegal subsidy.
Now we have news that the big banks, in particular the National Bank of Canada, are often misusing the federal small business financing program, costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars in bad loans.
What is the minister's response? The status quo. This is unacceptable. While Bill C-53 was a welcome improvement, we need a law and regulations with more teeth, we need penalties on banks that knowingly break the rules and we need a claims process that includes an assessment on whether banks reasonably evaluated loans.
The banks should not get taxpayer dollars to cover bad loans for business projects that clearly were not feasible. It is time for the industry minister to—